The Chicago Australian Football Association is very sad to announce the passing of Rich Noty. Rich had been recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and after failed chemotherapy, died Thursday afternoon, February 22nd 2007. He was 48.
“Big Rich“ had been a core member of the Chicago football scene since mid 1999. As a member of the Chicago Swans at one time or another he was a player, umpire, the secretary, club historian and the webmaster. Rich was one of the first American players to reach the “100 Game mark“, his final tally pushing towards 150. He actively recruited other players, always brought people to functions and games, he always sold his raffle tickets, the first one to run water, set up the goals and boundary, man the scoreboard as needed and cheer for the team. Always available to drive people to the game, if the other team was short he had no hesitation to raise his hand. He would always put too much in to pay a tab, if there was something to do Rich was there. He would always welcome the new guys and try to help them learn the game he loved so dearly. Rich was the proud winner of “Best Clubman” numerous years, an award that will be renamed in his honour. I can barely remember a training, game or function where Rich wasn’t present. Whatever it was, Rich would be there…he was Chicago Footy.
He loved Footy so much that he made the pilgrimage to Australia a few years back to see where it all began. Rich often talked fondly about his trip where he visited the MCG and Kardinia Park (Shell Stadium).
“Rich embodied everything that is great about a “good” clubman. He was at every game, he ran the water, he took down the goalposts, he cheered on his teammates, and was always welcoming to the other team – regardless of the result. He may not have been the best footy player in Chicago, but he was the best clubman. He will be missed by everyone involved in Usfooty.”
-Paul “Plugger” O’Keeffe, Founding President of Usfooty and a Milwaukee Bomber that enjoyed playing against Rich on numerous occasions.
““Big Rich” played against many teams and was recognized throughout. He was a proud member of the Chicago Swans and embraced the formation of the CAFA like a true clubman would. I had the pleasure and honour to play with Rich for 8 seasons, more than anyone else since I’ve been playing footy. He will be greatly missed, more than he will ever know. A man with a huge heart…only rivaled by his infinite love of the club and playing footy.”
-Al MacGlashan, Chicago Australian Football Association.
Rich was able to give two lasting sentiments to visiting members of the club, ‘Keep the Club Alive, Strong and Growing’ and ‘Don’t forget me.’ Which we never will. This coming season and every season we will walk on the field with Rich Noty in our hearts and minds and do out best to mimic his undying passion, vigor and overhwheliming presence as respect to the untimely loss of our great friend. Rich will truly be missed!